Season of Savings program help legiters through lean months

Every September, parents go back to work, kids go back to school, and nobody thinks much about going to the theater. Unless they’ve got a smash on their hands, producers expect a dropoff in biz and batten down the hatches in preparation.

The Season of Savings discount ticket program, spearheaded by Broadway ad agency Serino Coyne, kicked off in the wake of 9/11 but evolved into a semi-annual marketing push to help legiters make it through the lean months of September-October and January-February.

“In terms of return for your dollar, it’s the most successful initiative on Broadway,” said Nancy Coyne of Serino Coyne. “Most shows invest about $20,000, and many of them make $500,000 to $600,000 back.”

This year, a baker’s dozen of Broadway shows and another 13 Off Broadway offerings are participating in the program. For its $20,000, each show gets a coupon in an insert, distributed in area publications such as the New York Times and Time Out New York, as well as on the Season of Savings Web site touted by banner ads at other sites on the Web.

Discounts — most Broadway shows reduce ticket prices down to around $60 — are for performances through the month of September and part of October, with some shows (among them “Beauty and the Beast”) stretching the offer all the way through Oct. 30.

Victoria Cairl, the ad exec working on Season of Savings, said the shows that do best in the program are family shows, for which parents would be buying multiple tickets, and big-hit productions that, a few years after opening, have cooled a bit. (“The Producers” and “Hairspray” are among this year’s participants.)

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